by T.L. James | 11:58 am, November 17, 2012 | Comments Off
…is one of the reasons for the big failure this year. And there’s no reason for it — the party knew what needed to be done, at minimum, based on the Obama team’s actions in the 2008 campaign, and they couldn’t even get that right. I’ve encountered several groups developing digital strike lists and precinct walk databases and the like over the past four years, so there’s no reason why the Romney campaign had to roll out with a craptastic failure like Orca appears to have been. And at a more basic organizational level, one of us here has been urging GOP campaigns to hire and empower CTOs to handle social media, online presence, and voter data-campaign operations integration for as long as I’ve known him. It’s not like the GOP hasn’t been warned, and hasn’t been told what they need to do – the problem appears to be that they either aren’t listening, or that those who do listen foolishly fall for the conventional wisdom that “we gotta hire Beltway guys to do this”, and end up bringing on incompetent but connected-with-the-right-people consultants who deliver garbage while draining the campaign’s resources.
In contrast, Alexis Madrigal profiles the Obama 2012 tech team’s successful efforts over at The Atlantic – When the Nerds Go Marching In. What stuck with me the most when reading this article was the fact that these guys weren’t really pushing innovation in the sense of creating something entirely new, but innovating in how they applied existing technology and practices to a different end (campaigning). The suite of tools they created form a fulfillment and marketing information system, one which uses voter instead of customer data and delivers voters, donors, and volunteers instead of products, and which only breaks new ground in how those things get applied where campaigning differs categorically from marketing and delivering a product or service.
I used such a system back in 1990. 1990, folks. These things have been around a while.
Forget gushing tributes about the bold visionaries and geniuses who came up with such things out of the blue. Their genius in fact consists of applying tools that had already existed in some form to a new purpose, and then building them out from there to better serve that purpose. Which is not to say that what was done by the Democrat tech people in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t impressive in its own right – they obviously did something bold and new that nobody else was doing or had thought to do. My gripe is that there’s no excuse for why the GOP (or the DNC for that matter) shouldn’t have already had this kind of system in place and evolving and improving for the past twenty years. The fact that what they did is perceived as gee-whiz at all says a lot about the insularity and inertia and lack of vision of the political class as a whole…as does the fact that, when offered such tools and cautioned repeatedly that not taking tech stuff seriously enough to keep up if not get out in front of it will cost them elections, the GOP establishment chooses to do nothing (at best).
It’s not like they weren’t warned.
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